Varvara Grigorievna Rasputina – or Varya – was born in 1900, to a peasant family in Siberia. Her father was absent for most of her early life, but at 13 she joined him in Saint Petersburg; where she attended a fashionable school, and played with the tsar’s children.
At the age of 16, Varya’s father was lured away from their home to be brutally murdered by a group of conspirators.
At the age of 20, she’ll go looking for revenge.
Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin had the gifts of healing and divination from a young age – but it was a vision of the Blessed Mother that finally set him on the path of divinity.
After years of wandering the land, Rasputin arrived in Saint Petersburg in 1904. Stories of his powers spread and when he healed the heir to the Russian throne, he soon became the Tsarina’s most trusted advisor. His influence at court outraged the nobility however, until a plot was formed to have the Siberian mystic removed.
Born Matryona Grigorievna Rasputina, Rasputin’s eldest daughter moved to Saint Petersburg with Varya in 1913. Maria was popular with the ladies at court, and she fell in love with the high society life.
After Rasputin’s murder, Maria married Boris Soloviev: a student of the mystic arts, and professional con artist. They later fled Russia together, travelling the world on his ill-gotten gains. When Boris died of tuberculosis in Paris, Maria joined the circus as a dancer and lion tamer.
The Yusupovs were said to be the wealthiest family in Russia – and after his elder brother was killed in a duel, Prince Felix Yusupov became the sole heir to the fortune.
He studied at Oxford, where he developed a taste for wine, music, and dressing in women’s clothes. Returning to Russia, Prince Yusupov married the niece of the tsar. He orchestrated the murder of the holy peasant, Rasputin, at his own home, and when civil war broke out the Prince fled Russia to live in luxury in Paris.
Dmitri Pavlovich Romanov was born to royalty. When his uncle and guardian Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich was killed by a revolutionary bomb in 1905, Dmitri went to live with the tsar and tsarina themselves. Rumour had it, he was set to marry their daughter and inherit the throne, should their own son Alexei not live to adulthood.
Disgusted by the influence that a peasant held over the Russian imperial family, Dmitri Pavlovich aided his friend Yusupov in the plot to kill Rasputin.
Sergei Mikhailovich Sukhotin was a lieutenant of the Preobrazhensky Regiment: an elite branch of the Imperial Russian Army formed by Peter the Great. After Catherine the Great made the regiment her personal bodyguard, it became a prestigious posting for young Russian aristocrats.
Lieutenant Sukhotin was sympathetic to the plot against Rasputin, and he lent his military expertise to the assassination. After it was done, he fled the city and would eventually settle in France.
The Polish-born physician Stanislaus de Lazovert tended to Russian soldiers during the First World War. It was on the front lines that he met Vladimir Purishkevich, who would later recruit him for the murder of Grigori Rasputin.
As an army doctor, Lazovert had access to the potassium cyanide used in the first attempt at killing Rasputin. He helped dispose of the body too, before fleeing the capital and the ensuing police investigation. After the revolution he resumed his career as a physician in Moscow.
Vladimir Mitrofanovich Purishkevich was everything the Bolsheviks despised: a militant nationalist, a monarchist and anti-communist. As deputy of the Imperial Duma he was known for his fiery speeches… and for blaming a global Jewish conspiracy for every evil in the world.
Purishkevich was said to have pulled the trigger, and shot Rasputin through the brain in December 1916. He evaded trial and later, when the Bolsheviks took the capital, Purishkevich fled to White Army territory in Novorossiysk.